Tigers Put Finishing Touches On Plan For Hogs

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville talks about the match-up with Arkansas and the health of the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.-–As Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville likes to say ‘the hay is in the barn' for the Tigers as they put the finishing touches on the gameplan for Saturday night's game at Arkansas with a short practice in shorts and helmets on Thursday. Tuberville says his team is just ready to play a game now and see where they stand.

"We had a good week of practice," Tuberville says. "There was a lot of enthusiasm. The guys are ready to play. We need to play a game. After four or five practices you get kind of bored working on one team. We'll find out if we've improved Saturday. Our guys are ready to play and we're looking forward to traveling and playing a road game. It will be a little bit different for a lot of the players."

The Tigers enter the contest at 4-1 overall and pretty healthy as a team. The only question mark among the two-deep is senior center Steven Ross. Out much of the last two weeks with a strained hip flexor, Tuberville said he'll be available against the Razorbacks but won't start the contest as planned.

"Steven Ross practiced some today," Tuberville says. "He can play if we need him. He won't start. Courtney (Courtney Taylor) went full speed and practiced the entire day. Josh Thompson went the entire practice. We look like we're in pretty good shape there. Now we need to just go and play our game and see what happens."

Auburn's tractor trailer that will transport the equipment to Arkansas was being loaded for the first time this season on Thursday.

One thing is for sure this week, don't expect to see the Arkansas team that played scared in giving up 70 points to top-ranked USC earlier this year in Los Angeles. The Razorbacks have been stingy on defense since that game, giving up an average of just 314 yards and 19.5 points since that outing. Tuberville says that he expects nothing less than the best when kickoff rolls around Saturday night.

"They've had their growing pains, but you can tell their growing pains are not as big as they've gone through the season," Tuberville says. "Reggie Herring, I have known him for a long time. He's very intense. He'll have his guys playing at the top of their level. It's going to be a crucial test for us.

"We're going to have to play the best game we've played all year to have a chance to win. Our offense has not hit on all cylinders in every game. We've got to be more balanced . We've got to do things with the ball in crucial situations against a team that is going to try to create a lot of mistakes. I think it's going to be one of those games where it does down to the end."

The weather for Saturday night's game should be the first true football weather of the season for Auburn after several very hot games at the beginning of the year. Tuberville says that when the weather begins to cool off it has an effect on a football team and this Tiger team is no different.

"It helps a lot because you don't lose your fluids quite as quick," Tuberville says. "We're still sweating here. After practice we go through a lot of PowerAide and a lot of water. Up there it will be quite a relief for a lot of the guys, especially the big guys. Also the ball is not quite as slick because of sweat. We're looking forward to fall here. It hasn't made it, but we understand we're going to have a little cooler weather up there which is good."

The Tigers will have a short walk-through Friday afternoon in Auburn before flying out of Columbus, Ga. to Arkansas. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 6 p.m. and there is no television for the contest. Auburn will be looking to win its 13 straight game against SEC opponents with a victory over the Hogs. The school record for wins against conference teams is 14 set from 1993-94. Overall the Tigers have won 19 of their last 20 games, the third-best 20-game stretch in school history (20-0 in 1993-94, 19-0-1 in 1956-58).

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